Send your news, photos and videos by texting bucksfreepress to 80360 or email
Villagers mobilise against Sikh school plans
VILLAGERS are mobilising against a Sikh organisation’s plans to build a new secondary school in Stoke Poges.
About 400 people attended a meeting at the village centre in Rogers Lane on Wednesday evening to voice concerns over the proposals from Slough Sikh Education Trust [SSET].
It wants to open the Khalsa Secondary Academy on a site in Hollybush Hill, currently occupied by technology firm Pioneer UK.
The scheme has sparked uproar among residents who fear the 840-pupil ‘free school’ would bring a huge influx from Slough and cause traffic chaos.
Stoke Poges Parish Council says several of its members are researching SSET’s site selection process and seeking expert advice on planning policies.
It is also exploring the possibility of villagers submitting a ‘community bid’ to buy the Pioneer House site and find an alternative use for it.
The council points out there are already two schools in the near vicinity, adding on its website: “The amount of traffic likely to be generated by a secondary school with potentially up to 1,000 pupils from outside the village being transported by buses and cars will have a major impact on the existing road network both in Stoke Poges, and the surrounding villages.”
Nick Kandola, chair of SSET, says his organisation looked at a number of potential sites within Slough, but none were considered viable by council planners or Trust members.
Initially about 70 per cent of pupils will come in from Slough with the remainder from South Bucs, he said, though he expects this to change as the Sikh population rises in South Bucks.
He says most pupils will travel by bus, avoiding the village centre, while the school day will start earlier than other schools which will help ease congestion.
Though it would be a faith school, the admission policy states that 50 per cent of pupils can be non-Sikh.